UNC Basketball: Predicting Every Game on Tar Heels' 2012-13 ACC Schedule

Rollin Yeatts@@TSBRollinFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2012

UNC Basketball: Predicting Every Game on Tar Heels' 2012-13 ACC Schedule

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    The ACC basketball schedule for the 2012-13 season was released on Wednesday, with UNC seemingly having toughest road of them all. In an effort to have some fun—and possibly dig myself a deeper hole, during this long offseason haul—I will give you my predictions for every ACC game on the Tar Heels' schedule.

    The conference schedule consists of 18 games for the first time, and they certainly didn't take it easy on Carolina in year one. Roy Williams' squad will face the top seven finishers (behind UNC, who won the 2011-12 title) from last season's ACC race twice and the bottom four finishers only once.

    In short, the Tar Heels' schedule is as hard as it could possibly be.

    That certainly won't make the loss of their top four players any easier. But Ol' Roy knows how to recruit, and there are plenty of stars in line to take their place.

    After all, last year's team only had two upperclassmen starters and they made an Elite Eight with a walk-on point guard at the end. The season before, they made it just as far with Tyler Zeller as their only upperclassman starter.

    So to say this team can't compete because they lost four starters is borderline ridiculous.

    The Tar Heels have won or shared seven titles this millennium and will be contending for their second three-peat of the era. Could they do it in 2012-13?

    It's time to make myself look brilliant or dumb.


    Click here for printable PDF version of UNC's 2012-13 ACC schedule, courtesy of GoHeels.com.

North Carolina at Virginia

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    Where: Charlottesville, VA

    When: Sunday, January 6 at 8 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPNU


    As always, the Tar Heels can expect a tough defensive battle with the Cavaliers. Unlike last season, though, the UVA's focal point will be their backcourt play without Mike Scott and Assane Sene.

    UNC definitely has an edge in talent in those areas and post men Joel James and James Michael McAdoo will just be hitting their stride.

    After a shamefully slow first half that put Virginia in the lead, the pace picks up and turns in favor of North Carolina. The Tar Heels put on a fast break exhibition to go on top and produce a double-digit lead. UVA hangs in, but is unable to cut it to single digits.

    The new post duo combines for 21 rebounds and Reggie Bullock finishes the top scorer with 19 points. McAdoo was the catalyst for the second-half transition game with four steals. 


    Final Score: UNC 78, UVA 65

North Carolina vs. Miami

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Thursday, January 10 at 7 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN or ESPN2


    This is the type of stuff Romans filled the Colosseum for, and I'm not talking Miami versus North Carolina.

    I'm talking about the two human wrecking balls going at it down low. Senior center Reggie Johnson weighs in at 284 pounds and he will be going up against Carolina's freshman center Joel James, who is also a mammoth at a chiseled 260 pounds.

    Experience and an extra 24 pounds wins in this battle on the block. But there is another battle going on between two smaller players and that proves to be the difference in the game.

    Carolina freshman Marcus Paige lights up Florida State's Shane Larkin for 21 points and 11 assists. James couldn't get anything going down low, but Paige is able to distribute the ball and knock down a few treys of his own.


    Score: UNC 87, Miami 80

North Carolina at Florida State

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    Where: Tallahassee, FL

    When: Saturday, January 12 at 2 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN


    Only one ACC team will be able to match the pure athleticism of the North Carolina Tar Heels—and that's the Florida State Seminoles. Both teams will have better defenses and transition games than last year, making this one of the most exciting battles of the season.

    It won't be the 90-57 blowout we saw in Tallahassee last season, but there will be no revenge for the loss Carolina took in the ACC Championship, either. As a matter of fact, this game will look all-too-familiar to fans of the Heels.

    It's a back-and-forth battle until the end, but Roy Williams can't find anyone to contain Michael Snaer. The senior Seminole scores 23 points on 4-of-6 shooting beyond the arc. He also breaks Carolina's momentum in the final minute with a steal he takes coast-to-coast for the jam.

    An ugly day of shooting by Carolina and a stellar defensive effort by FSU leads to the Tar Heels' first ACC loss.


    Score: FSU 79, UNC 72

North Carolina vs. Maryland

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Saturday, January 19 at 12 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN


    If there is anything this Maryland team learned on this day, it was to avoid playing Carolina after a loss. Call in a bomb threat or pretend everyone is sick—whatever has to be done to avoid the massacre.

    On this night, UNC's transition game was on full display, and everyone got a piece of the action. McAdoo would lead the team with 18 points, but every starter finished the game in double figures. The Tar Heels had a tough time containing Nick Faust, but he was the only Terrapin to reach double figures with 17 points.


    Score: UNC 92, Maryland 69

North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Wednesday, January 23 at 9 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN


    There was no hangover from the dominant win over Maryland on Saturday, as the Tar Heels continued the pounding with Georgia Tech. This game was much like the last, taking advantage of the youth and lack of top-tier talent on the Yellow Jackets' roster.

    Reggie Bullock has one of his best games of the season, scoring 27 points and snatching eight boards. Paige also puts up another distribution clinic, serving up 12 assists on the night.


    Score: UNC 95, GT 68

North Carolina at NC State

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    Where: Raleigh, NC

    When: Saturday, January 26 at 7 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN


    The Tar Heels are no longer in the Dean Dome and they aren't playing bottom dwellers in this matchup. NC State has rolled through their schedule so far, and look to be the top team in the conference.

    Up until this game, it had been the Rodney Purvis and C.J. Leslie show in Raleigh. Dexter Strickland had something to say about that, though.

    Strickland hardly sees any time at the point, as Roy Williams employed a strategy to lock down the Wolfpack's freshman shooting guard with the best defender on the squad. In a tight 39 minutes of play, Carolina finally makes some space in the final minute, burying NC State from the charity stripe.

    C.J. Leslie would get the best of McAdoo, scoring 25 points on the night. But it wouldn't be enough, as Carolina has a strong day from the perimeter, knocking down 11 treys.


    Score: UNC 81, NC State 76

North Carolina at Boston College

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    Where: Chestnut Hill, MA

    When: Tuesday, January 29 at 9 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPNU


    Let the beatings continue.

    Chestnut Hill, MA is no safe haven for the worst team in the ACC. Feeling great after a tight win over rival NC State, the Tar Heels carry the momentum forward and right through the Golden Eagles.

    This was P.J. Hairston's day to shine, lighting up the net from all areas of the floor and overwhelming defenders with his physicality on the drive. Hairston gets pulled midway through the second half, but not before going 6-of-8 from downtown and putting up 25 points.

    It's just another easy win for Carolina.


    Score: UNC 96, BC 61

North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Saturday, February 2 at 12 p.m.

    Broadcast: ACC Network


    The Hokies are struggling in James Johnson's first year as their head coach. After losing two starters to transfers, their lack of depth is even more evident than in years past—which says a lot.

    On the other side, Carolina is as deep as they have been in years and this game serves as another chance to get invaluable playing time for the young players off the bench.

    Reggie Bullock sits out most of the second half, allowing J.P. Tokoto some quality time above the rim. Tokoto scores 15 points and throws down an electrifying 360 dunk that erupts the crowd. Brice Johnson also gets significant playing time and shows of blocking skills, serving up four rejections.

    This isn't even a contest.


    Score: UNC 88, VT 62

North Carolina vs Wake Forest

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Tuesday, February 5 at 7 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPNU


    Looking at this game on paper, it should be another blowout for Carolina on their home floor. After all, there are seven freshmen on Wake Forest's roster.

    The young Demon Deacons play with grit and cause all sorts of trouble for the Tar Heels in the first 30 minutes of play. Riding a five-game winning streak that consisted of four blowouts and a rivalry win has obviously swollen their heads.

    Despite a small lead, Roy Williams becomes frustrated with his players and pulls the starters in favor of the hungry bench. Once again, Carolina's youth dominates and sparks a 12-0 run that puts some distance on the scrappy Demon Deacons.

    Nobody stands out on the stat lines, but six Tar Heels manage double figures in scoring.


    Score: UNC 73, WF 59

North Carolina at Miami

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    Where: Coral Gables, FL

    When: Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN or ESPN2


    From the start of this game, it looks like the Tar Heels took a reaming by Roy Williams to heart. They manage to play some of their best team basketball of the season, rotating the ball around the court to find open shots along the arc.

    Leslie McDonald is the main beneficiary of the ball movement, serving up five three-pointers on the afternoon.

    The second meeting of the bigs proves to be just as entertaining as the last. This time, Joel James gets the best of Reggie Johnson, scoring 14 points and ripping down 13 boards.

    The Hurricanes just won't go away, though. Durand Scott puts up 19 points and Kenny Kadji seemingly knocks down every big bucket to stymie the Carolina momentum.

    Miami has a great day, but so does UNC—their talent eventually outweighing the heart of the Hurricanes. The Canes keep it tight, though, never allowing the Heels a double-digit lead in the second half.


    Score: UNC 83, Miami 77

North Carolina at Duke

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    Where: Durham, NC

    When: Wednesday, February 13 at 9 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN/ACC Network


    There is a reason this is one of the best rivalries in all of sports. It seems just about every game between North Carolina and Duke is a tight one and emotions run high. This meeting would be no different.

    Both teams play excellent basketball for the entire 40 minutes of play, giving us what may be the best game of the season.

    The battles down below with Joel James and Mason Plumlee become epic, as they physically pound on each other on every possession. Mason eventually gets booted for fouls, but his brother Marshall steps in and Duke doesn't lose a step.

    While there are stellar performances all around, none stand out as much a Seth Curry's 23 points.

    The Tar Heels defended the perimeter very well against everyone else, but somehow Curry just keeps finding his way to the open spots. Curry puts on a clinic from beyond the arc, knocking down seven threes—the final one serving as a nail in UNC's coffin, with less than a minute remaining.


    Score: Duke 81, UNC 77

North Carolina vs. Virginia

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Saturday, February 16 at 12 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ACC Network


    North Carolina never takes Duke losses very well. Virginia had to face them after one last year, losing that meeting 70-52. Yet again, the Cavaliers have to mount up and take on the Heels in the Dean Dome.

    This game would be no prettier than the last for UVA, as Carolina buries them with suffocating defense that leads to 22 points in transition. Once again, James Michal McAdoo is at the heart of it all, picking off the Cavaliers five times and scoring 21 points on the afternoon.

    Virginia keeps Carolina's points down in the halfcourt, but this game was never even a contest.


    Score: UNC 73, UVA 52

North Carolina at Georgia Tech

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    Where: Atlanta, GA

    When: Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ACC Network


    Georgia Tech has improved since the last time these two met in Chapel Hill, and this time the Jackets are playing with the advantage of the Thrillerdome.

    As usual, the ruckus Georgia Tech crowd serves as the sixth man, erupting with every big play from their beloved Yellow Jackets. Carolina thwarts every surge, but can never stay on a run to pull away until P.J. Hairston hits consecutive threes in the final 10 minutes to put a cushion on their lead.

    Even with crowd in their favor, Georgia Tech just doesn't have enough depth to top UNC on this night.


    Score: UNC 77, GT 69

North Carolina vs. NC State

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Saturday, February 23 at 4 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN or ESPN2


    This rivalry has officially regained its significance. Along with Duke, NC State and North Carolina sit at the top of the ACC with only two losses on the season. The title is on the line, and this could be the game that decides who gets the title.

    UNC got the best of NC State on their own court, but the Wolfpack would turn the tide right back on the Tar Heels in the Dean Dome. Though the game stays close, the Heels are unable to make the big runs that ignite the crowd.

    It's a relatively quiet night for those in Carolina Blue. C.J. Leslie makes sure of that, once again taking advantage of McAdoo in the post. Rodney Purvis would find a way to get by the sticky Dexter Strickland to put his stamp on the rivalry—hitting one big shot after another and relentlessly getting to the rim.

    The Wolfpack duo would combine for 45 points on the night and there was nothing Carolina could do to stop them.


    Score: NC State 84, UNC 76

North Carolina at Clemson

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    Where: Clemson, SC

    When: Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN or ESPN2


    Clemson isn't quite what they used to be, and the Tar Heels take full advantage after coming off another rivalry loss.

    All the UNC stars shine in this one, as every starter finishes the game with double digits. With the only experienced players in frontcourt, Clemson has all kinds of trouble dealing with the perimeter game and athleticism of this Carolina squad.

    Reggie Bullock shows his leadership from the jump, taking over the offense on a 23-point night. Beyond Bullock, the defense was the story of the night, forcing 16 turnovers in this lopsided contest.


    Score: UNC 91, Clemson 65

North Carolina vs Florida State

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: CBS


    Florida State got the best of North Carolina in Tallahassee, but the Tar Heels would have their day in Chapel Hill.

    As one should expect, this was a fast-paced and defensive affair. The Seminoles played outstanding defense once again, but they just couldn't knock down the big shots on the other side of the court. Strickland was used once again to lock down the biggest threat in Michael Snaer.

    Strickland also had one of his best games of the season, scoring 16 points and picking Snaer's pocket twice. Bullock was the man in transition, scoring 10 fast-break points and finishing with yet another 20-point performance.

    The Seminoles lost all hope for a title with this game and the Tar Heels remain in the race.


    Score: UNC 87, FSU 79

North Carolina at Maryland

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    Where: College Park, MD

    When: Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN or ESPN2


    Maryland was spanked in the last meeting and they weren't about to go down like that again. The Terps would start out the game on an 8-0 run, but that gratifying feeling would be short-lived.

    James Michael McAdoo has been off and on all season in the post, but he just abuses James Padgett in this contest. It was a poster shoot for McAdoo and the Terrapins were his prop.

    McAdoo got it done in every facet of the game, scoring in transition, driving to the bucket and finishing with authoritative jams, turnaround jumpers and even knocked down a three. His full repertoire was on display at the cost of Maryland.

    Bring on Duke.


    Score: UNC 92, Maryland 71

North Carolina vs Duke

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    Where: Chapel Hill, NC

    When: Saturday, March 9 at 9 p.m.

    TV Broadcast: ESPN


    In 2011-12, this game served as the regular season title game, as Duke and North Carolina entered the game in a tie. After Duke's stunning loss to Miami the previous week and NC State's loss to Florida State earlier in the afternoon, the three rivals are tied up once again at the top.

    The winner would share the regular season title with the Wolfpack, as both teams split the series with them.

    The Tar Heels jumped on Duke from the beginning, scoring 20 of the game's first 25 points. That was enough to put the crowd in a frenzy and keep Duke on their heels for the entire game. Post men Joel James and McAdoo had much better luck with the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly, with the advantage of playing behind.

    Duke put too much focus on threes, in an attempt to make a quick comeback. Curry didn't find the open spots like he did in the last meeting, and when he had the look he just couldn't execute.

    Once this game opened up, the Blue Devils just didn't have a chance to mount a comeback against this dominantly athletic squad. The strong defense and transition game proved to be too much Duke.

    Nobody truly stood out for Carolina, as everyone got their fair share of highlight reels. The Tar Heels and the Wolfpack would share the title for the first time since 1985, when it was a three-way tie with the Yellow Jackets.


    Score: UNC 86, Duke 74